Review: Secret Squirrel Grows Up with New Packaging and HPP
Covers Products: Cafe Latte Cold Brew Coffee, Dark Chocolate Mocha Cold Brew Coffee, Vietnamese Coffee
With over three years of business under their belt, Los Angeles-based Secret Squirrel is a relative veteran of the cold-brew coffee space. Over these three years, the company has offered cold brew in a variety of forms, including concentrate, ready to drink, and even dairy-based offerings. However, things always felt slightly incomplete -- and as a result Secret Squirrel seemed to be unable to fully capitalize on the growth of the category.
But now, with its latest revision, things seem like they are about to change. The new lineup, which has moved to plastic and is high pressure processed (HPP), is cleaner looking and better tasting. While this review is focused exclusively on their dairy-based offerings, the flagship black cold brew looks just as slick.
As far as the flavors go, it’s honestly pretty hard to choose which of the three (Caffe Latte, Vietnamese Coffee, and Dark Chocolate Mocha) we liked the best. Using whole milk, rather than low-fat, these are unadulterated offerings and it definitely shows in the flavor. All three start with a bold base of coffee and the rich flavor and body of the whole milk. It’s right on the edge of being too milky, but the products straddled the line nicely. From there, the company adds condensed milk to create a slightly richer and sweeter variety called Vietnamese Coffee. In addition, they’ve paired it with cocoa and sugar to create Dark Chocolate Mocha. This particular flavor is the most indulgent of the bunch.
In addition to flavor, we expect these products to really thrive because of their clean list of ingredients, one made possible, at least in part, to the use of HPP, which means they produce these products without added preservatives or flavorings. In the end, we wouldn’t be disappointed with any of these products -- they can definitely hold their own with any dairy-based cold-brew that’s out there right now.
On the outside, we really like the switch to the plastic bottle. It gives the product a visual point of differentiation from the competition, which generally uses dark brown glass bottles and similar color palettes. For Secret Squirrel, this move has also resulted in much sharper-looking graphics, which is a big step forward from what they’ve created in the past. However, the core of the brand has stayed put and it’s nice to see that they’ve figured out how to evolve it into something that feels much more polished and mature.All in all, this is a very big step forward for Secret Squirrel and they now seem ready to be a serious competitor in the space.